CHARLOTTE, Fla. (CBSNewYork) – On Saturday, Greg Bird made a strong opening statement in the battle for the Yankees’ first base job. On Sunday, Luke Voit sent an even louder message.
Voit roared into spring training, slugging a home run and driving in four in New York’s 8-5 win over the Rays.
The 28-year-old opened the scoring on Sunday by slashing a single to right, scoring fellow roster-hopeful Tyler Wade in the first inning. The slugger then crushed a ball in the fourth that sailed over the crowd, a scoreboard, and a Tiki bar in left center for a three-run homer.
Luke Voit homers and drives in four runs in a Spring Training game against the Tampa Rays on Feb. 24, 2019. (Credit: Getty Images)
The first baseman’s big day came just 24 hours after Bird went 2-for-2 with a double against Boston. The two look poised for a month-long battle that will hand one of them the starting first base job and could possibly put the other on the trading block.
Entering 2019, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that the job was Voit’s to lose. That confidence came from the Missouri-native’s stunning debut in the Bronx last season. Voit smashed 14 homers in just 39 games after being traded to New York in July.
Although his competition for the job has long been touted as a future superstar for the Yankees, Bird has never stayed healthy since his 2015 debut. If Voit continues to amaze the front office with his seemingly limitless power, Bird won’t get a chance at all in 2019.
NOTES FROM THE GAME:
Free agent pickup DJ LeMahieu got his first hit in a Yankees uniform Sunday, lining a single to center field. He finished the day 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored on Voit’s homer.
Tyler Wade, who is competing for a spot on the bench this year, went 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. Wade has stormed out of the gate, hitting .800 with three doubles in the first two games of the spring.
Jonathan Loaisiga started against the Rays and pitched two scoreless innings in the victory. Star outfield prospect Estevan Florial went 1-for-3 and picked up two stolen bases for New York.